GE Medical Systems has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a key provider of PET technology. Coincidence Technologies, however, does not make positron scanners or the cyclotrons that forge PET radiopharmaceuticals. Rather, the company makes products that work in concert with cyclotrons to synthesize fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and other positron-emitting compounds.
”The company is extremely complementary to what we do in functional imaging,” said Thomas Hook, global PET general manager for GE. “It is the piece that we really wanted to add to the business to have the premium offering for PET scanners, cyclotrons, and chemistry.”
The agreement to buy Coincidence Technologies was announced Aug. 27 at the European Association of Nuclear Medicine Annual Congress in Naples, Italy, and GE executives expect the deal to close by the end of September. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Hook described the company, which is based in Liëge, Belgium, as a long-time ally. Coincidence synthesizers have been installed at multiple GE sites, he said.
”We look at this (acquisition) as a continuation of the direction we have been going,” he said. “By acquiring the company, we can integrate the technology within GE.”
The product fills a critical niche in the practice of positron imaging. Since the advent of this modality some 30 years ago, its clinical adoption has been hampered by limited access to the cyclotron-produced isotopes.
At more than a million dollars, cyclotrons are expensive, but their operation can be even more so. Highly skilled staff, including those at the doctoral level, have been required to generate the FDG and other PET radiopharmaceuticals necessary for positron imaging. The FDG synthesizer developed by Coincidence Technologies automates the final crucial processing steps, which determine the quantity and quality of the compound. The synthesizer generates FDG yields in excess of 60%, according to executives from the two companies. The above average yields allow cyclotron users to generate more FDG per production run.